Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trade it with a smile

It seems that San Francisco has joined the ranks of many other cities nationwide in offering to trade gifts for guns. In a city that has seen 89 murders already, they felt that this may help remove guns from the streets or even homes where they may be stolen and used in a crime.

They held their first event in July and held their second on Saturday. California law makes it illegal to own an assault rifle and the program, Gifts for Guns allows anyone to turn in a weapon and the police will not ask any questions as to it's origins.

The event in July brought in 117 handguns and 2 shotguns and this Saturday, San Francisco police collected about 100 guns which included 4 assault rifles and two sawed-off shotguns. Once they guns are in police hands, they will be checked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to see if they have been used in a crime previously or are stolen. Those that are stolen will be returned to their owners and the rest, about 99 percent, will be destroyed.

When Orlando held their event earlier this year, they offered a choice of a giftcard or sneakers. San Francisco offered giftcards on a sliding scale, depending on the type of gun turned in. Those turning in guns were offered a $100 giftcard for rifles and shotguns, handguns brought a $150 giftcard and assault-type rifles were exchanged for a $200 card.

Not everyone felt that it was a very good idea though. Peter Buxtun, a 70 year-old gun advocate turned in two worthless handguns and walked away with $300 in giftcards. He stated that you can buy a junk gun for $10 and then turn it in, then use the gift card to purchase another gun. He added that he felt that the officers would have done better to be out patrolling rather than handing out giftcards.

Buxton does have a point and it seems these days that almost anything can be traded or bartered for another. Getting guns off the street and out of closets though, I think is not such a bad thing for the few hours spent at the event. I do have to wonder though, on San Francisco's sliding giftcard scale........ what would a missle launcher like Orlando received be worth in gift cards?

For a related post, go here.

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